Azeri Government Behind Foreign Media Ban at European Games

Officials said Saturday that a decision to ban some foreign media from attending the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan this month rested with the government. Journalists, including the Guardian’s chief sports correspondent Owen Gibson, have been refused entry visas. Organizers of the event in Baku said it was the government who was clearing individuals to enter the country based on their own set of criteria. The Azeri sports minister said “the Baku European Games organizing committee issued accreditations to journalists, more than 1,500 in total. We just issue accreditations. The government approves or not approves.” Apart from media, several representatives from international human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also been blocked from entering the country.